On 7th November 2012, EuroISPA will co-host 2 workshops – one with the European Commission and one with the Council of Europe – at the Internet Governance Forum in Baku.
November 2012. The first workshop on free cross-border flow of Internet traffic will address the question of how legal framework and principles impact the freedom of expression and free flow of information. The second workshop on Protecting the rule of law in the online environment will ask participants to describe what criteria they consider constitute adequate mechanisms for adjudication of disputes and complaints, whether there can be public confidence in processes developed with the input of stakeholders that are themselves one of the parties to complaints, and what structures they recommend be adopted in the design of complaint resolution procedures to respect the legitimate interests of all parties.
1- Free cross-border flow of Internet traffic
EuroISPA and the Council of Europe will co-host a workshop on free cross-border flow of Internet traffic. The workshop will address the question of how legal framework, regulations and principles impact the freedom of expression and free flow of information. The objective of this workshop is to discuss challenges to the unimpeded cross-border flow of Internet traffic and to make an overview of best practices.
International law provides for the exercise and enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression and access to information regardless of frontiers. Being a global network the Internet enables and facilitates the flows of information, content and services as well as people’s communications across borders. In this context it is considered important to have a free and unimpeded flow of Internet traffic.
Part of the challenge in this area lies with the fact that there are differences in national regulatory and policy frameworks and approaches. How do legal requirements on providers of services or of essential numbering and addressing resources inhibit cross-border flows initiated by users of those services and resources? What is the impact on free flows of traffic and information where ISPs/electronic service providers are demanded to act against third party content or transmissions where alleged infringements of various kinds have occurred? What restrictions or measures on the Internet traffic in one country can have an impact on access to information in another country?
The Council of Europe, pursuant to its Internet Governance Strategy 2012-2015, will consider developing appropriate human rights-based standards to protect and preserve the unimpeded cross-border flow of legal Internet content. The OECD promotes the global free flow of information as one of the basic principles for Internet policy-making. Also, discussions on the cross-border flow of Internet flows may relate to the revision of the International Telecommunication Regulations by the ITU. Major private sector players have called for international commitments to “expressly prohibit restrictions on legitimate cross-border information flows”.
More information on this workshop here
2- Protecting the rule of law in the online environment
EuroISPA and the European Commission will jointly organize a workshop on ‘Protecting the rule of law in the online environment’. Participants will be asked to describe what criteria they consider constitute adequate mechanisms for adjudication of disputes and complaints, whether there can be public confidence in processes developed with the input of stakeholders that are themselves one of the parties to complaints, and what structures they recommend be adopted in the design of complaint resolution procedures to respect the legitimate interests of all parties.
Stakeholders with an interest in restraining certain types of content and conduct seek to co-opt Internet intermediaries as their enforcement agents, using measures such as notice and takedown, network blocking, and other techniques. At the heart of such procedures lie two implicit claims: that the law proscribes certain content or conduct, and that the content or conduct in question does in fact fall within the proscribed category. Both of these claims are in principle capable of refutation: the person responsible for the material or conduct in question may claim either that they are legally entitled to do the thing they are accused of, or that although they wouldn’t be entitled to do it, they didn’t do it. For example, in a copyright dispute, the publisher may either admit their content is a copy of somebody else’s material, but claim legally protected use, or may deny their content is a copy. Internet intermediaries protest that they are unable to evaluate legal defences and factual disputes, leading them to either reject proposals for intervention partnerships with complainant groups (frustrating both those groups and the aspirations of policy-makers to foster non-legislative measures) or assume that all allegations by reputable mass-scale submitters of complaints are well founded (thereby denying one party a fair hearing).
Further, the development of intervention procedures through negotiation between Internet intermediaries and regular submitted of complaints lacks structures to support consideration of fundamental rights in general, and the “rule of law” / “due process” qualities in adjudication procedures in particular. Structures may not be present to provide systematic assurance that such extra-judicial measures meet essential minimum requirements for transparency, independence, consistency, non-discrimination and other necessary standards. Together, these shortcomings lead to charges of systematic bias in extra-judicial processes for intervention against Internet misuse by Internet intermediaries.
More information on this workshop here